George Lucas to Receive Achievement Award

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Career-achievement prizes? Maybe for your ordinary, down-to-earth directors, not your interstellar filmmaking overlords.

"Star Wars" (search) creator George Lucas (search) is receiving a "galactic-achievement award" next week at ShoWest, an annual convention of theater owners in Las Vegas.

The honor being presented March 17 comes two months before the debut of the final installment in Lucas' sci-fi saga, "Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith" (search), chronicling the transformation of young hero Anakin Skywalker (Hayden Christensen) into the dark lord Darth Vader.

"This unique award celebrates the enduring popularity of the 'Star Wars' movies and the enormous impact and influence they have had on audiences and popular culture," Mitch Neuhauser, co-manager of ShoWest, said Tuesday.

"No other movie series has been so successful for so long, and no movie is more eagerly anticipated this year than 'Revenge of the Sith.'"

Lucas, who turns 61 five days before "Revenge of the Sith" opens, has said that life after "Star Wars" for him will be heavy on the sort of smaller movies he started off making, such as his 1971 debut feature, "THX 1138."

"Revenge of the Sith" opens in U.S. theaters on May 19.